Retrospective exhibition of Paul Huf (14 March 1924 – 9 January 2002)

Curators: Selena Yang, Liu Lei
Exhibition Period: 8 May 2015 to 7 June 2015
Venue: Wuhan Art Museum
Address: No.2 Baohua Street, Zhongshan Avenue, Wuhan, China
Part of the museum exchange programme between Wuhan Art Museum and Jan van der Togt Museum.

Co-organized by: Oooit Art
Supported by: Dutch Culture, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Sponsored by: Philips China

Special thanks to Mrs. Bonny Huf for attending the opening ceremony of the exhibition

With Paul Huf’s perspective, this exhibition is divided into four parts: social, surreal, fashion and handicraft. 93 photography works of Paul Huf are put on show in the exhibition. Paul Huf (1924-2002) is a late famous Dutch Photography artist as well as the vanguard of commercial photography. A number of his works has been collected by Rijksmuseum (National Museum of the Netherlands). His representative works include portrait photographs for Queen Julian of Holland as well as famous people like Johan Cruijff, Wim Sonneveld, Willem Drees, etc., and the “Eye to Eye” series for commemorating the 100th anniversary of Van Gogh’s death, and so on. He shot a group of precious business image for the album cover of the Philips “PHILIPS FAVOURITES” (1956) which helped him to establish the position as the vanguard of modern commercial photography. His ” Vakmanschap is Meestershap ” series, photographed for Dutch Grolsch, successfully recorded the cautious and conscientious Dutch people and the exquisite Holland craftsmanship. The social awareness and identity exhibited by the works surpass the function of commercial photography and tend to be documentary photography.

Paul Huf always reflects romance and elegance of the Dutch. The early portrait photography focused on the upper class figures of the Dutch who were guests of his parents. The aesthetic artistic style displays his preference for the stage effect of the nineteenth century and early movie styles. His skillful utilization of the surrealistic technique comes from the influence of pioneer art around him and his learning from the surrealistic master Man Ray, laying a foundation for his future career as a professional photographer. The adverting photography of Paul Huf is characterized by dramatic setting and artistic composition of various characters, which combines with the vanguard and fashionable artistic motive at that time, exhibiting substantial vanguard.

PREFACE (by Jan Verschoor, director of Jan van der Togt Museum)

As director of the Jan van der Togt Museum in Amstelveen in the Netherlands, I am delighted about our partnership with the Wu Han Art Museum in China. Within the framework of this partnership we received the works of Chinese painter and poet Ji Likai in December 2014. In return we are sending the works of the nationally and internationally renowned Dutch photographer and film-maker Paul Huf (1924 – 2002). We are proud that his works are now being shown in the Wuhan Art Museum.

Our museum has exhibited the works of Paul Huf several times, in retrospective as well as thematic exhibitions. One of those exhibitions focussed on the works that Huf was commissioned by KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. For this company he also made a fascinating film in which he visits the places where our nationally treasured painter Vincent van Gogh has worked. During his life, Paul Huf won several awards for the photographs as well as the films he made, including the one about Van Gogh.

The name Paul Huf is also connected to several artistic awards in his field, both nationally and internationally. The award ceremonies took place in the Jan van der Togt Museum. Our museum had a special bond with Paul Huf. Because of Huf’s activities in portrait and commercial photography he knew the founder of the museum, the industrialist Jan van der Togt. His picture can be found in the hall of our museum that runs to the two largest rooms. It is a framed portrait, small in size, but monumental in terms of expression and significance. The photograph was taken by Paul Huf.

I am pleased that the visitors to the Wuhan Art Museum will now be able to get acquainted with the fascinating works of Paul Huf. The exhibition has been made possible thanks to the support of many. To name a few: the staff of the Jan van der Togt Museum, Selena Yang of Oooit Consultancy and international art consultant, Ruud Lapré professor emeritus and author on visual arts, who wrote an essay for this book about Huf’s works and last but not least, the various companies who through their sponsorship enabled us to organise the exhibition.

Geographically, the two cooperating museums are thousands of kilometers apart, but they have found common ground in terms of respect and appreciation for each other’s works of art. Art is and will remain an indispensable guide for communication between cultures.